If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while, the first thing you’d know about me is that I encourage meal prepping. Always.
No matter what.
So I decided it was about time to give you a bit more info as to why and how 🙂
Why should you meal prep?
There are so many benefits to meal prepping but the biggest of all is that it will save your diet (even if you’re not trying to lose weight- I just mean in terms of what you eat daily) and stop you from choosing unhealthy options. The reasoning behind this is that if you’re feeling a little peckish and if you nutritious, ready-to-eat food on hand, you’re much more likely to choose that than reach for and binge on something full of junk.
Also, although meal prepping can take a while, it will save you much more time during the week than cooking or preparing each individual meal.
Okay, so how should I begin meal prepping?
Well first of all, it’s good to know which foods are the best to work with.
Here’s a list of what I find is best;
PROTEINS; chicken breast, turkey mince, canned salmon/tuna
GRAINS; brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa
VEGGIES; asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, long beans, zucchini, spinach, frozen stir-fry mix
Now to begin the prepping.
I plan what meals I make before starting although these hardly ever change from the usual- Thai Satay Stir Fry with Turkey Meatballs, Honey Mustard Chicken with Steamed Veggies, Balsamic Salad with Roasted Chicken, Fish and Sweet Potato Fries.
Then I get started. At the beginning, you’ll find that it takes a while to do your meal prep but over time, you’ll get quicker and finally, you’ll find the most efficient method for you.
This is mine;
- Begin cooking brown rice in a rice cooker.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Season turkey mince with cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika. Roll into meatballs and place onto an oiled tray/casserole dish (have them about an inch in diameter).
- Cut chicken breast into strips (around 2 cm thick so they cook the same time as the turkey) and season with Mrs. Dash Original Chicken Blend, Taco Seasoning or simply pink salt and pepper. Then place onto oiled tray/casserole dish.
- Put both meats in the oven for 20 mins or until cooked.
- Meanwhile, start cutting up your veggies and steaming or frying them, depending on preference. I just chuck about 1.5kg of Frozen Stir-Fry Mix, Broccoli and Cauliflower into the steamer.
- Start cooking Quinoa or other grains at this time too.
- Lay out your tupperware/plastic containers in a row, ensuring you have enough for the whole week. At this point in time, I sort out my salad leaves and spinach into each of the containers (Mon, Wed and Fri I use a Mesclun mix for salads. Tue, Thurs, Sun and Sat I use Baby Spinach for stir-fries).
- Around this time, the rice, meat and veggies should be done. So simply spoon each into the containers prepared.
- Close and label the containers with the day they are for.
And you’re done!!
I normally meal prep on Sunday and the meals stay fresh until Friday. I freeze Saturday and Sunday’s meals. Then when I warm the meals up, if they are stir-fries, or toss them, if they are a salads, on the morning-of, I add the sauce (whether it be Thai Satay, Teryaki or Salad Dressing)
Also, with the salads, I normally just prep the leaves, the carbohydrates and the meat. I chop up the vegetables the night before (as tomatoes, cucumber and capsicum doesn’t keep too well if not heated up before eating).
– Measure out your portion sizes. This ensures that you have enough for the whole week, instead of too much at the beginning and then nothing at the end.
– Plan ahead. If you know that lunch at work/school is provided for say, Wednesday and Friday, there is no point making lunches for that day as the food may just go to waste.
– If freezing your meals, take them out of the freezer and allow them to defrost in the fridge the night before. Then heat them up the next day (whether it be in the microwave or on the stovetop).
– If you like to snack in between meals, have some prepared food for that too. I buy no-fat, no sugar added yoghurt (in snacking tubs), fruit, nuts (and split them into 50g portions on the weekend), Balance protein bars and veggie sticks (that I cut up on the weekend).
So there you have it! Meal Prep summed up in one post.
Of course there’s a bit more to it but you’ll learn along the way.
If you’d like more info, just head to Meal Prep Mondays or comment below.